SINGAPORE - There will be arrangements in place to help seniors redeem and utilise their digital SingapoRediscovers vouchers when the scheme begins next month.
These include setting up of physical counters at community centres to help them in making bookings, and organising small group tours for them, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan on Tuesday (Nov 3).
He was responding to questions by Mr Melvin Yong (Radin Mas) and Mr Ang Wei Neng (West Coast GRC), on the help that will be given to seniors in utilising the vouchers, which can be spent on local attractions, hotels and tours, and are meant to revive domestic tourism.
Singaporeans aged 18 and above can redeem the vouchers from Dec 1 via SingPass.
Mr Tan said the Government is aware that some seniors may need help with using the vouchers, which are valid till the end of June 2021.
The booking platforms for the vouchers - Klook Travel Technology, UOB Travel Planners, Changi Travel Services and GlobalTix - will set up physical counters to assist them, apart from the digital platforms.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is working with the People's Association (PA) to set up the counters at some community centres, with each Housing Board town having at least one.
Up to 66 counters will be set up islandwide, including those by the appointed booking platforms, he said.
Seniors who need help making their bookings can go to the counters, where ambassadors will help them make their redemptions and purchases, Mr Tan added.
STB will also set up a hotline to handle public enquiries.
"To help seniors who are staying alone or have little social support to use their vouchers, STB will explore working with social service organisations and PA to facilitate the usage of the vouchers, such as by organising small group tours for seniors when permissible," he said.
He noted that the voucher's validity period covers the December, March and June school holidays, and the off-peak periods in between would be suitable for seniors or those who are not working to use them.
Addressing security concerns, Mr Tan said STB is working with the relevant government agencies and booking platforms to develop safeguards against fraud.
"The use of SingPass will provide secure authentication for the distribution of the vouchers and help mitigate fraud," he noted.
To avoid falling prey to scams, he said Singaporeans should keep their SingPass account details confidential, not share their one-time password (OTP) with anyone, and beware of unsolicited text messages or web links directing them to suspicious portals claiming to be SingapoRediscovers booking platforms.
Purchases should be made only on authorised platforms, added Mr Tan.
"STB will conduct regular checks and audits and leverage data analytics to flag out suspicious transactions for further investigations. Cases of fraud will be reported to the police," he said.
Responding to Workers' Party MP Leon Perera (Aljunied GRC) on whether the vouchers can be used for arts-related activities such as festivals and stage plays, Mr Tan noted that museums and galleries catering to tourists are already eligible for the scheme.
He said arts and cultural organisations offering complementary products can work with eligible merchants, such as hotels, tourist attractions and tours, to develop bundles to qualify for the usage of the vouchers.